On World Ocean Day, let’s acknowledge that that the future of the ocean is inextricably intertwined with the ocean economy – the broad range of commercial activity that provides societies with critical ocean goods and services.
And let’s pay tribute to the millions of men and women who work on, under and around the sea every day to bring us this ocean bounty. They know the ocean better than most everyone else on the planet and care about the ocean that their kids and grandkids will inherit.
Although much of the vast and diverse ocean economy is “out of sight and out of mind” for most, the ocean business community is fundamental to the future of the ocean.
However, human use of ocean space and resources is affecting ocean health and sustainability. These effects of sea-based activities are also accompanied by often much more significant land-based sources of impacts, such as municipal wastes, agricultural runoff and plastics.
Ocean industries operate in a fluid, three-dimensional, interconnected ocean. This means industry’s activities, responsbilities, and impacts are also interconnected – as must be industry sustainability efforts. The best efforts by a single company or even a whole industry sector will not be enough to secure ocean health and productivity into the future.
This creates a compelling business case for industry leadership and collaboration in tackling ocean sustainability, stewardship and science. Fortunately, there are many good, smart people in good, smart companies who do their best to understand and address ocean sustainable development. These leadership companies conduct their business in a manner that is compatible with the balanced environmental and economic needs of the communities in which they operate.
To further enhance responsible operations throughout different ocean industry sectors, a group of companies banded together to form the World Ocean Council (WOC) – the international, multi-industry business leadership alliance for “Corporate Ocean Responsibility”. This collaboration helps identify sustainability risks, gaps and practical cross-sectoral, science-based solutions.
Cross-sectoral WOC teams are putting this unique industry alliance to work on a range of topics, such as ocean policy and governance; marine spatial planning/ocean zoning; invasive species; marine debris/port reception facilities; marine sound; and improved ocean data collection. Robust data-sets, peer-reviewed published science, risk assessments, and use of the best available technologies are essential to these efforts.
An increasing number and range of ocean industry companies from around the world are distinguishing themselves as leaders in “Corporate Ocean Responsibility” by joining the WOC and are collaborating to achieve the “Blue Economy” – a balance of responsible ocean use and sustained ocean health.
At the 3rd WOC Sustainable Ocean Summit (SOS), Singapore, 9-11 November 2015, the ocean business community will gather to continue its leadership, collaboration and commitment to sustaining the interconnected environment, people and economy of the ocean.